The Burqa As A Modern Style Statement

Only days after Guardian writer Arwa Mahdawi criticized the current pop-star obsession with "burqa swag," another editorial from the publication is providing an upfront look at Islamic women intent on proving traditional, modest dress and high fashion can go hand in hand. These women view the abaya (cloak), niqab (face veil), burqa (whole-body-covering dress), and hijab (head-and-shoulder scarf) as just another mode of female expression, and more importantly, one of their own choosing. Sheikha Raya Al-Khalifa, an interview subject, vividly embodies this ethos: She wears her abaya with Valentino heels, bright-red nails, gold jewelry, and full makeup, and she rejects the idea that the religious dress code has been forced on her, saying the garment merely reflects part of Islamic culture — a view that more and more women are expressing.
"These women insist that they do not equate modest dressing with persecution, but that wearing an abaya can be a statement both of individual choice and style," writes Elizabeth Day. A culmination of this idea could be seen at September's Qatari exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which showcased futuristic interpretations of traditional Islamic dress. Embroidered abayas got paired with accessories like Philip Treacy headdresses and Asprey handbags for a surreal effect. The event's organizer, Farhleen Allsopp, comments, "The abaya [is] a garment of style and modesty much like the kimono and sari have been with Japanese and Indian cultures. In my view, the abaya is a garment of expression rather than of oppression." Day also notes the recent and overt Islamic influence on designers such as Riccardo Tisci, Karl Lagerfeld, and Valentino, as well as the skyrocketing profitability of selling high fashion to women in the Middle East.
Feminist writer Caitlin Moran contemplated the illusion of "veils" in her memoir, How to Be a Woman, and makes a great point. "Who are you being protected from?" she writes. "Men. And who – so long as you play by the rules, and wear the correct clothes – is protecting you from the men? Men. And who is it that is regarding you as just a sexual object, instead of another human being, in the first place? Men." (The Guardian)
burqasPhoto: via The Guardian

More from Politics

"Wrong." "That makes me smart." "Why Not?" "Ugh." No, those aren't snippets of a conversation with a cranky 5-year-old. They're just a few of the ...
When Donald Trump attacked her suitabilty for office during Monday's debate, Hillary Clinton was ready with the comeback of the evening. Towards...
People are already having feelings about the presidential debate — and no one’s even had time to finish their wine yet. Twitter was gearing up for the ...
If the chaotic party politics of the 2016 election have left you feeling completely birdbrained, this video is for you. The Founding Fathers (presented ...
Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis: Hillary Clinton from Funny Or Die Update: Hillary Clinton's appearance on Between Two Ferns may have smashed ...
We're just hours away from the first presidential debate of the 2016 election. The 90-minute showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is ...
Election Day lasts just one day — a 24-hour culmination of the seemingly never-ending campaign season. But we’ll spend the next two, four, six years ...
We share the 12 questions we want to hear moderator Lester Holt ask Clinton and Trump tonight
Step aside, old-school political merch. We're way past bumper stickers and buttons. With the election just months away, people across the country are ...
1. Here At Home: Police arrested a suspect in connection with a shooting at a Washington state mall that left five people dead. The shooting took place...
We want to get something out the way. This is not "the most 2016 image ever." The most 2016 image ever is, like, Donald Trump being scared by a bird. But...
When thinking about the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opening this weekend, the first thing that comes ...
On Saturday, police arrested a 20-year-old suspect in connection with a shooting at a Washington state mall that left five people dead, reports The ...
The 2016 presidential election has been a captivating contest. If you feel like sometimes you can't look away, well, you're not alone. Even celebrities ...